Validating Visual Heritage in Africa: Historical Photographs and the Role of the “Archive”

Pan African Institute for Development-West Africa (PAID-WA), Buea, Cameroon
27 Jan 2015 - 29 Jan 2015

Validating Visual Heritage in Africa: Historical Photographs and the Role of the “Archive”

African Photography Initiatives announces the conference Validating Visual Heritage in Africa: Historical Photographs and the Role of the “Archive”. The conference will take place in Buea (Cameroon), organised in collaboration with the Universities of Buea, Cameroon and Basel, Switzerland. The aim of the conference is to stimulate discussions about, and set out an agenda for, the space(s), value, role and future of photographic collections within the broader framework of the ‘Archive’.

On the one hand, the conference will conclude the two-year project “Cameroon Photo Press Archives. Protection, Conservation, Access” (EAP542) which aims at rendering a substantial amount of the archive’s material more easily accessible. It shall engage scholars, media professionals and artists from Cameroon, Africa, and abroad on a platform to discuss practical, methodological and theoretical questions that arise in critically dealing with photographs and their contexts in distinct fields of activity, disciplines and archival settings.

On the other hand, the event will not simply serve to promote the Buea Press Photo Archives in a narrowly conceived manner, but instead attempt to place the project within a broader framework of the “circulation of knowledge” by means of a) accessing varied visual information resources and b) targeting users with a view to validating visual heritage within the wider realm of its place in the “archive”.

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Panel Clusters:    

I. Press Photography
II. The ‘Living Archive’
III. Mobility of, and Access to, Images and Archives



Between 2013 and 2014 the Press Photo Archives Buea, Cameroon have been digitized. Expanding the academic frame and in order to further promote a critical engagement with the Archives’ rich visual material African Photography Initiatives solicits contributions from artists using the material of the Press Photo Archives Buea for an art intervention. The selected art works will be exhibited in Buea during the conference and accessible to the public. Furthermore, the selected art works will be included in future events and media promoting the project and Africa Photography Initiatives.

The following artists have been selected to participate in the Photo Exhibition which will take place in Limbe-Buea-Douala from 26-31 January 2015:

Adalberto Abbate, Italy
Cecile Hummel, Switzerland
Erika Nimis, France
Hillie de Rooij, Netherlands
Ibrahima Thiam, Senegal
Luis Mena, Spain
NSA (Maite Cajaraville and Gisle Frøysland), Spain-Norway
Afrikadaa Lab (Pascale Obolo and Caecilia Tripp), Cameroon-Germany
Pascale Obolo and Anne Gregory, Cameroon-US
Thais Medina, Brasil


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